Home > Compare Cruise Lines > Celebrity Cruises vs Royal Caribbean

Celebrity Cruises vs Royal Caribbean

Compare ships, pricing, destinations, onboard facilities and shore excursions between Celebrity Cruises and Royal Caribbean.
Celebrity Cruises Royal Caribbean
Where do they cruise?
What type of ships do they have? Large, Mega and Expedition Ships Large & Mega Cruise Ships
How many passengers are on board? Classic: 2,107 - 3046 / Expedition: 48 - 100 1,602 – 5,606
What type of cruise line are they? Premium Contemporary
What are they known for?
  • The first cruise line to have a ½ acre real lawn at sea
  • Dining curated by Michelin-starred Chefs
  • The largest and rarest wine collection at sea
  • The Magic Carpet on Celebrity Edge & Celebrity Apex
  • Something for everyone
  • Entertainment packed ships
  • State of the art onboard experiences and thrills
What is the average cost per day?
  • Interior: $235
  • Oceanview: $268
  • Balcony: $343
  • Suite: $979
  • Interior: $200
  • Oceanview: $237
  • Balcony : $297
  • Suite: $696
Are fares all inclusive? No No
Are gratuities included? Yes Yes
Are there any additional gratuities payable on board? Yes. 18% gratuity added for beverage purchases, mini bar items, spa and salon services Yes. An 18% gratuity is added to spa services and bar bills
Can I get any reciprocal loyalty club benefits? Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, and Azamara offer reciprocal benefits to members enrolled in their loyalty programs. Yes. Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, and Azamara offer reciprocal benefits to members enrolled in their loyalty programs
What is the onboard currency? USD USD
What language is spoken on board? English English
Who cruises with them?
  • Primarily couples & solos
  • Food and wine connoisseurs
  • Travellers who enjoy modern luxury settings
  • Families & couples
  • Semi-retired or retired
What is the average passenger age? Primarily 40+ Average age 45 years. There is something for all ages on board, so demographic is broad from families, to couples, and those over 60 years.
Are they good for families? Children are accepted from 6+ months (12+ months on select cruises) and there are dedicated programs and facilities available for children Children are accepted from 6+ months (12+ months on select cruises) and there are dedicated programs and facilities available for children
Are there children’s programs? Camp at Sea is Celebrity’s children’s program. There are activities for four different age groups supervised by experienced youth staff members. The program changes regularly keeping it fresh. Celebrity Equinox also offers STEM (Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) & art classes. Celebrity also offers a program for children on the autism spectrum. Services are not available on Expedition ships Yes. Complimentary. The Adventure Ocean Youth Program offers activities for age groups between ages 3-17 years, and the Babies and Tots Program accommodates children from 6 months – 3 years
Is there childcare and/or babysitting? Yes. Group babysitting is available on the contemporary ships through the Celebrity Youth Program for ages 3-12 years including afternoon parties on port days and late night slumber parties in the evening. Children must be toilet trained. Private baby sitting at cost is available for suite level guests only. Services are not available on expedition ships Yes. A fully staffed nursery is available on select ships (for 6 months – 3 years). Late night group babysitting with the Youth Staff in the Adventure Ocean Facilities is also offered (subject to availability) for toilet trained children aged 3 – 11 years. Charges apply
What are the accommodation options? Interior, Oceanview, Balcony & Suites. Studios available for solo travellers. Interior, Oceanview, Balcony & Suites. Studios available for solo travellers.
Are there accessible staterooms? Yes Yes
Are shore excursions included?
  • Classic Cruises: No
  • Expedition Cruises: Yes
What types of onboard activities are available for free? Enrichment programs such as guest lectures and some onboard classes. Art classes and technologies classes are available on select ships So many! Most RCI ships offer a plethora of thrilling onboard activities that may include sports courts, a rock climbing wall, waterslides, a surf rider, sky diving simulator and observation capsule on deck and a range of classes from language, to dancing and crafts. Some ships have an internal deck dedicated to a games space or an ice skating rink. Onboard activities will differ by ship
Are there any onboard activities that I need to pay for? Yes. Charges apply for a range of activities such as glass blowing and mixology classes Specialty onboard seminars may attract a charge. Activities such as games in the video arcade incur a fee, and some onboard thrills may offer one-time complimentary use only (subsequent use may incur a charge)
Is there free evening entertainment? Yes Yes
Is there any paid evening entertainment? Yes. Occasionally special entertainment may incur additional charges Some themed dinners may have a surcharge. In suite on demand movies are available for purchase
Are there complimentary dining options? Yes Yes
Are there specialty restaurants? Yes. Charges apply Yes. Charges apply. The range of specialty restaurants may differ between ships
Are there dining packages for purchase? Yes Yes
Are non-alcoholic beverages included? Yes. Juice, water, tea, and coffee are available at stations across the ship and select soft drinks at meals. Iced water, tea, coffee and lemonade included. Soft drinks and other non-alcoholic beverages must be purchased.
Are alcoholic beverages included?
  • Classic Cruises: No
  • Expedition Cruises: Yes
No. All alcohol beverages must be purchased.
Can I purchase a beverage package? Yes. A range of drinks packages are available to purchase, and a Classic beverage package can be chosen as a perk in the Sail Your Way promotion Yes. A range of beverage packages are offered for non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages
Is there room service? Yes. Available 24/7. A late night fee applies Yes. A convenience charge applies to each order, except continental breakfast items. Grand Suites and higher category staterooms do not pay a convenience fee
Is there Wi-Fi on board? Yes. Charges apply unless it is selected as a perk in the Celebrity Sail Your Way promotion Yes. Charges apply
Can I purchase Wi-Fi packages? Yes Yes
Is there a Spa? Yes. Expedition ships offer smaller spa facilities Yes
Are spa and salon services available? Yes. Charges Apply Yes. Charges Apply
Is there a gym? Yes. Expedition ships will have smaller fitness rooms Yes
Are there group fitness classes? Yes. Included complimentary. Some specialised training programs may incur additional charges Yes. Included complimentary. Select special training classes may incur additional charges
Is there personal training available? Yes, on classic cruise ships. Charges apply Yes. Charges Apply
Is there a self-service laundry? No No
Is a laundry service available? Yes. Charges Apply Yes. Charges Apply
Is there a casino on board? Yes. Except on expedition ships Yes

Please Note: There may be additional inclusions and privileges for select stateroom and suite guests or select loyalty member tiers. Activities and entertainment vary by ship, itinerary and departure and are a guide only.

Who provides the best value - Celebrity Cruises or Royal Caribbean (RCI)?

Both cruise lines are owned by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCCL) with Celebrity Cruises leveraged as a premium line while Royal Caribbean International (RCI) is a contemporary line. Both offer similar inclusions in the cruise price however the fares for are not as inclusive as sister lines, Azamara or Silversea and other lines such as Viking, Oceania, and Regent Seven Seas.

On face value the base cost of a comparable cruise may be marginally cheaper on RCI than on Celebrity, however, there isn’t a huge price difference between these sister lines for similar voyages. Cost may be impacted by the age and class of the ship and the value also depends on the time of year you want to cruise and the promotions that each line might offer that lead to discounted prices or add on offers such as free onboard credit.

Neither line is all inclusive, and on each you need to factor in onboard costs such as specialty dining, beverage packages, Wi-Fi packages, and the cost of excursions. If you book during sales and maximise offers and promotions such as Celebrity’s Sail Your Way you can leverage some extra perks.

Celebrity also offers Expedition cruising, but for the purposes of this comparison it is the classic, contemporary cruise holiday that each line offers that is in focus.

Which line is best for families?

Both cruise lines offer family friendly programs that include programs for children and teens but overall RCI is more focussed on family than Celebrity.

Programs for Babies, Children and Teens

RCI is ahead in innovations for family cruising when it comes to onboard activities, programs for tots to teens and services such as the Baby2go program that allows parents to pre book nappies, wipes, baby food and creams to save them carrying these items on board.

RCI markets themselves as a family friendly cruise line and delivers on all fronts with their separate Adventure Ocean kids club spaces for babies and toddlers, tweens and teens. Hosting a greater number of children on board than Celebrity, these dedicated spaces for children and teens are more spacious on Royal ships.

While Celebrity seems to host more families and children on sailings during school holiday than other periods, they still offer a flexible children’s program where you can pick and choose from a range of fun and educational activities. Activities cover art, recreation, culinary, and includes educational activities that support S.T.E.M (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) in a fun way.

Family Focused Facilities

Royal offers family oriented aqua parks (H2O Zone or Splashaway Bay) on 12 of their ships and most of their ships have multiple pools and many have water slides, while Celebrity’s Solstice class ships have the Wet Zone vertical fountain splash area for kids. While Royal’s onboard thrills and spills are also for adults, they offer many more family friendly options for onboard activities than Celebrity. This is also reflected in the pool deck, which on Celebrity ships is geared more for lounging and relaxing than splashing and recreation.

On RCI, many dining options are geared towards families, not just with the choice of restaurants and their menu but also with My Family Time Dining, where children ages 3 to 11 are served their meals first and then collected by the Adventure Ocean club crew so parents can enjoy the remainder of dinner and evening entertainment child free through the night time drop off sessions (at cost after 10pm).

Family Suites and Staterooms

RCI offers a larger choice of family friendly cabin configurations. Aside from traditional interconnecting cabins for smaller family groups, Royal have created the ultimate two storey family suite as part of their Royal Suite Class collection on the Quantum Ultra Class ships, Symphony of the Seas and Spectrum of the Seas. While this is a top tier innovative suite, complete with games room and a slide connecting the two floors, Royal also offers inside, oceanview and balcony family staterooms that accommodate up to six across a range of ship classes.

Celebrity Solstice ships offer family staterooms with living space and two bedrooms, a large balcony, one bathroom, and a sofa bed in the living area. These cabins can be interconnected with others to grow the space available for larger families. The Millennium class ships have smaller staterooms but provide options for multiple sleeping arrangements for up to six with beds and sofa beds and privacy partition between the sleeping areas. Suite class cabins offer a full-size bathtub which may be useful for families with small children. Parents can arrange for toy packages and at an hourly rate parents can arrange in-room babysitting in the evenings for up to three children.

Both cruise lines offer family friendly excursions and an autism program.

Which line is best for couples?

Both RCI and Celebrity ships are popular with couples. The choice is most likely to come down to your onboard interests, and how you like to relax. While Celebrity takes the edge on food and wine, and deck space dedicated to relaxation, RCI’s non-stop adrenaline fuelled fun is not just for families. There are plenty of options on both cruise lines for couples of all ages, it’s more a matter of what you are seeking from your onboard life.


Foodies and wine lovers will find Celebrity offers a more sophisticated range of dining options (and possibly more romantic dining settings). With all dining options overseen by Michelin-star resumed chefs, menus offer a culinary journey of epicurean proportions, Celebrity has focused on food served in elegant surroundings as a hallmark of their onboard experience. Furthermore, Celebrity showcases the ‘largest and rarest wine collection at sea’.

On Edge Class ships, couples will love The Magic Carpet dining and bar, which transforms from restaurant to bar to an extension of the pool deck depending on which deck it is docked. Eden on Edge ships offers an adult sophisticated dining experience in the evenings where performance art and dining blend to offer a unique at sea dining experience.

Onboard Activities

Celebrity shares a similar list of activities and classes to Royal but step up in the area of technology and art with their iLounge, the first Authorized Apple Specialist at Sea, where certified Apple experts run classes for cruisers on website creation, blogging, photoshop and other computer skills, many of which are free or incur a small cost. Two Solstice-class ships feature The Art Studio on the Lawn Club where passengers can take art classes like jewellery making, sketching and painting. While these activities may not be specifically couple oriented it shows a focus on a demographic beyond family cruising.

If you are a couple who thrive on adrenaline fuelled activities you would be hard-pressed not to consider the accelerated, innovative fun of Royal’s onboard activities. While each ship has different offerings, all have a rock climbing wall and sports courts, while 12 ships offer an indoor ice skating rink. The five Quantum class ships feature the SeaPlex, an indoor activity hub with bumper cars, roller skating, trapeze classes and an arcade. Then there is the surf and skydiving simulator and the North Star Observation Deck. You can be endlessly occupied, constantly competitive and following the fun onboard.


When it comes to relaxation both lines offer outstanding spa services and adult only solariums. Celebrity offers more deckside relaxation with the ½ acre lawn at sea where you can book a cabana and likewise on the pool deck. Designed more for relaxation than action, particularly on Celebrity Edge, the Resort Deck is wrapped by an outward-facing asymmetrical pool deck with full of oversized art installations, two-storey martini glass styled hot tubs, and tall cabanas that overlook the ocean.

What about solo cruisers?

If you are seeking to cruise on your own and want to have your own single cabin (and avoid having to pay a solo supplement for single occupancy) you will have more opportunity to cruise solo on Royal Caribbean. RCI offers 28 solo cabins on Quantum of the Seas, Anthem of the Seas, Ovation of the Seas and Harmony of the Seas where Celebrity currently only offers 16 solo cabins on Edge class ships.

Which line has the most innovations?

Royal ships are renowned for their game changing, amplified onboard activities for active passengers of all ages with sky-diving, bumper cars and surf simulators, wild slides and the North Star Observation deck. The onboard activities depend on the ship. If you want your cruise ship to provide you options for non-stop activities and entertainment of the ‘thrills and spills’ kind, then Royal will have your ship.

Celebrity has the ½ acre lawn on Solstice ships, the transformative Magic Carpet, cantilevered to the side of Edge class ships; Eden, the three-story hybrid “experiential” restaurant and performance venue; and Le Petit Chef at Le Grand Bistro, a dinner restaurant that features a 4D animation projected on your plate throughout the course of your meal. Royal has the robotic bionic bar.

Onboard each cruise line you will find engaging, world class entertainment and large scale productions, film experiences on deck, dancing and nightclubs and casinos.

RCI has created innovation in their inside cabins with the creation of virtual Balconies – bringing real time vision and sounds of the sea through audio visual technologies into cabins that would otherwise be pitch black, bar the lights.

Both cruise lines stay at the top of the ‘innovations at sea’ space through ongoing multi-million dollar enhancement programs across their fleet.

Which line has the right itinerary and shore program for me?

When you choose Royal Caribbean you have the choice of almost double the itineraries compared to Celebrity – after all RCI have double the number of ships in their fleet.

On their contemporary cruises, both Royal Caribbean and Celebrity offer a similar range of excursions for purchase and overnights in some ports. Both also offer an Autism program that includes a series of excursions as well as wheelchair friendly excursions.

Celebrity Excursions include Celebrity Discoveries, culturally focussed trips, Chef market Discoveries that include culinary excursions with the ship’s chef to uncover local flavours and then return back to the ship to witness a cooking demonstration from the morning’s purchases. Adventurers can choose to join adventure focussed excursions curated by English adventurer Ben Fogle. Evening tours for special dining or performance experiences can also be booked in select ports. Celebrity offers select small group tours for up to 24 guests.

Also offering a large number and variety of shore excursions, Royal Caribbean offer PADI Certification onboard, followed by scuba excursions in some ports. Also, in the active collection guests can choose activities such as sailing, wildlife watching and snorkelling. Also on offer are cuisine focussed experiences such as vineyard tours and wine tasting, food and cooking tours. Adventurers may be able to horse-ride or parasail, take part in a 4x4 off road experience or go white water rafting and those who want culture will find a guided city tour and golfers may get to that world-class course. From flightseeing to relaxing on a local beach, there is a range of options.

Both cruise lines take their guest to island locations on select Caribbean and (from 2020) Pacific cruises that offer a day of sun, sea, slides and sand for all – all activities on the islands have a charge.

When it comes to making a decision between these two cruise lines it will be the onboard experience that will be the deciding factor – and whichever you choose will offer you a fabulous cruise holiday.